Ministry of Justice

B.C.'s Prosecution Service

The Vision - Courageous, Fair and Efficient – a Prosecution Service that has the confidence of the public

As an integral part of the Ministry of Justice, the Criminal Justice Branch will deliver on its core responsibilities in a manner that safeguards prosecutorial independence, and supports an effective justice system through communication, collaborative effort and innovation. The Branch’s core responsibilities include: (1) approving and conducting criminal and regulatory prosecutions; (2) initiating and responding to appeals; (3) providing criminal law advice to government; (4) developing policies and procedures on the administration of criminal justice; (5) liaising with the media and the public on prosecution matters; and (6) any other function or responsibility assigned to the Branch by the Attorney General.

Prosecution files are managed as one part of the overall criminal justice system:

Diagram of the criminal justice process

Independence of Crown Counsel

As mandated under the Crown Counsel Act, Crown counsel make their prosecutorial decisions independent of any outside influence.

Media Statements

September 8, 2014

Decision of Special Prosecutor
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced that independent special prosecutor David Butcher, QC, has approved charges under the British Columbia Election Act against a corporation and two individuals. The charges arise out of conduct that is alleged to have occurred during the Port Moody-Coquitlam provincial by-election in 2012. The Chief Electoral Officer for British Columbia has given his written consent to the prosecution, as provided for under section 252 of the Election Act.

August 27, 2014

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigation into Errington Incident
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced that no charges have been approved against a member of the Oceanside Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment for an incident that occurred on November 18, 2012, in which an individual suffered a significant facial injury while being placed under arrest.

August 13, 2014

Special Prosecutor Approves Charges in Bountiful Investigation
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice, announced that independent Special Prosecutor Peter Wilson, QC, has approved criminal charges against a number of individuals associated with the community known as Bountiful, near Creston, British Columbia. The charges allege polygamy and the unlawful removal of children under the age of 16 years from Canada with the intention that an act be committed outside Canada that would be an offence against section 151 (sexual interference) or 152 (invitation to sexual touching) of the Criminal Code.

August 6, 2014

Criminal Justice Branch Releases Public Education Materials: 2013/14 Annual Report and Plain-Language Information Sheets
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Justice released its 2013/14 Annual Report. The Annual Report provides the public with information on the role of the B.C. Prosecution Service and the values that guide its work, as well as access to key operational data such as the volume of prosecution files that were approved in the 2013/14 fiscal year, and the aggregate outcomes of prosecution files that were concluded in this same time frame.

July 4, 2014

Crown Recommences Prosecution of Robert Frederick Widdifield
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced today that it has recommenced its prosecution of Robert Frederick Widdifield in Nanaimo Supreme Court on Indictment #74552, where Mr. Widdifield is charged with extortion and theft over $5,000.  

July 3, 2014

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigations involving Police Service Dogs

Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced today that no charges have been approved in relation to separate incidents involving the use of police service dogs (PSDs) in the arrest of suspects on November 18, 2013 in Surrey and on December 19, 2013 in Victoria. Each incident was investigated by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO).